Despite today’s increasing awareness relating to internet security, there are indeed cases whereby individuals and organizations with less than honorable intentions attempt to dupe unsuspecting members of the public.
Today, Delta Financial Markets has found itself the target of what it has identified to be a Hong Kong-based attempt at the fraudulent counterfeiting of the company’s website in order to obtain client deposits intended for Delta Financial Markets’ London operations by deception.
Attention To Detail
This particular attempt to fraudulently gain funds with which clients of Delta Financial Markets intended to fund their trading accounts highlights that it is most certainly good practice for clients of retail FX firms to verify the correct URL of their broker’s website before committing funds to it, and for brokers to ensure that their clients are protected by depositing to the correct website rather than accidentally depositing to the bank account of an imposter.
The details of this incident were brought to light by Delta Financial Markets Compliance Officer Trevor Clein, who contacted Forex Magnates in order to explain that “Delta Financial Markets in London has had its website cloned and people should be aware of that. The counterfeit website, which can be found under the URL http://www.forexdf.com/en/, looks credible, and contains many important details regarding Delta Financial Markets including our Financial Conduct Authority registration number.”
Mr. Clein continued to explain that “Clients could easily believe that this is the correct website, enter their details in good faith and then lose their money to a fraudster. We are talking to the FCA about this matter currently, to ask that they take steps toward assisting to remove the false website from the internet.”
A particular hazard associated with such schemes as those used by operators of false websites which imitate bona fide companies is that because they do not exist as a corporate entity, and are not the correct firm which they purport to be, they are not licensed by any regulatory authority, and are not a provider of financial services products, therefore the regulatory authorities very rarely have any jurisdiction over such websites.
By their very nature, regulatory authorities such as the FCA are able to enforce proceedings against legitimate companies which are licensed and regulated as financial services providers under the jurisdiction in which they operate. False websites which do not provide any financial products and are unlicensed often fall outside the mandate of financial regulators, and therefore could be considered a matter for criminal investigation.
Mr. Clein conducted some research on this particular bogus website which imitates that of Delta Financial Markets, as a result of which he discovered that the entity behind this attempt to dupe customers originates from Hong Kong.
In order to react quickly and alert the senior management of the company, Mr. Clein issued an internal memorandum detailing that the company’s website had been cloned, and that payment facilities are being offered to clients on the fraudulent website, which could result in potential deposit transactions falling into villainous hands.
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Delta Financial Markets Compliance Director Alerts Senior Management
Mr. Clein’s memorandum explained to the company’s management that “I wish to inform you that our website has been fraudulently cloned. The link to the cloned website is : http://www.forexdf.com/en/read.jsp?id=30”
“The link to our genuine website is : http://www.dfmarkets.co.uk/en/dfmarkets-home.asp”
“We will endeavor to have this website removed by contacting the service provider, and will also warn clients by posting a warning on our website. I will also keep you informed of any developments that may occur as a result of this matter,” Mr. Clein addressed the management team.
In conclusion, Mr. Clein stressed the importance of ensuring that all market participants, FX firms and traders are made aware of this by explaining to Forex Magnates that “It is important that I provide this information to as many FX companies and end users as I can, in order that they are not taken in by similar actions of fraudsters.”
This is not the first time that an FX company website has been the subject of cloning. In February last year, compatriot British FX company Tradenext discovered that its website had been cloned by fraudsters with a very similar end result in mind.
In that particular case, the cloned website contained scant detail about the company, yet comprised a similar layout to the genuine site, however the emphasis was on payment methods and credit card deposit facilities.
Just one month prior to that, Boston Prime fell victim to a similar scheme, this time perpetrated by imposters from China. Although targeting a prime brokerage rather than a retail firm, the structure of the counterfeit site contained the same basic ingredients as the counterfeit sites of Tradenext and Delta Financial Markets, with the British regulatory authority’s registration number displayed clearly, and an emphasis on payment facilities.
Mr. Clein intends to follow the FCA’s treatment of this case closely, and to ensure that all market participants are vigilant. As the well-known phrase goes, caveat emptor.